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RichP
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 2:36 pm 
Poking around on a nameless bump on the Snoqualmie Tree Farm today, I got a whiff of that unmistakeable odor. Then I saw this sign:


Soon I could see sludge sprayed along the roadside.


Hey, it's our poop being repurposed for fertilizer.

https://kingcounty.gov/services/environment/wastewater/resource-recovery/loop-biosolids.aspx


fourteen410, zimmertr
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Schroder
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 3:35 pm 
You don't want to use that on food crops as they show in the film. A tree farm seems a good option.

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Kim Brown
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 5:37 pm 
By the time LOOP product is ready for farms, it is free of the bullsh## that would be poison to us. it goes through several processes for a month or more.

I thought the forest along the road leading to the PCT / Mt. Catherine was fertilized with LOOP material; it's been a long time since I've benn on that road, so I may not be remembering correctly; in other words, I might be full of sh##.

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JonnyQuest
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 6:22 pm 
Kim, you're correct.   As you head up the road past the Hyak sewage plant towards Windy Pass you see similar signs indicating they're releasing (spraying?) In similar fashion.

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Schroder
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 6:33 pm 
Kim Brown wrote:
By the time LOOP product is ready for farms, it is free of the bullsh## that would be poison to us.

Not true. It's free of active bacteria that may harm us but still full of heavy metals, drug products, etc. that stay with biosolids. It's banned in Island County.

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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 7:25 pm 
They sprayed it all over the clear cuts on the East side of Tiger below the main rod that went to West Tiger 1,2,3

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Dick B
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PostFri Feb 04, 2022 9:08 pm 
Two end products come out of sewage treatment plants. One is effluent, which is liquid, like water. It is used frequently on golf courses and farmlands. I believe some places pump it back into the ground to help regenerate their water table. Some treatment facilities say theirs is good enough to drink, but not for me. The second is sludge, which is the solids left over. That is what is being depicted in the video. Twice in my surveying career I came in contact with sludge.
First was while our company was doing the survey work to upgrade the sewage (also called wastewater) facility in the town of Sheridan here in Oregon. Their sludge went onto what is called a sludge drying bed, which was a large concrete slab. I'm not sure what happened to it after it dried. There was a tomato processing plant in town. The sewage collection system accepted the waste material from the plant which contained lots of seeds. The seeds would not break down in the processing, so ended up in the drying beds. We were there late in the summer, and never in my life did I see such robust tomatoes that were growing around the beds. None were harvested.
My second experience was while in Redmond. The county was in the process of closing down the local garbage dump and turning it into a transfer station. The existing dump site had to be covered with an impervious clay material to prevent water penetration. Our firm did the topographic surveys on the site to make sure water would sheet off the rather large dome that once was garbage. They brought in sludge to fertilize the area once the site work was done. Unfortunately, the sludge was stockpiled right next to where we had to work, so depending on the wind, the work could become rather unpleasant.

Lindsay
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RichP
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PostSat Feb 05, 2022 9:07 am 
Growing up in coastal SC there was a large tract of woods near our home and a tidal creek surrounded by marsh. We would catch fish, crab, shrimp, harvest oysters and clams in this creek which people had done for likely thousands of years beginning with indigenous people. Not long after the completion of the golf course, signs began to appear "do not consume shellfish from these waters." I later learned that it was due to high bacterial levels from effluent and residue
of chemical fertilizers being sprayed on the golf course. A series of canals drained into the tidal marsh from swampy areas within the development. A community of houses began to appear along the fairways and it became part of a gated enclave. This was in the 1970's and I'd like to think that it wouldn't be permitted today knowing what we know but I have my doubts about that. I hate golf courses to this day! mad.gif

What Dick B said about the tomato plants. We unwittingly used used treated material from the town sewage plant at our home garden and I recall those plants as well. There were some good ones I got from that pile. I wouldn't use that stuff for fertilizer these days though.

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Sculpin
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PostSat Feb 05, 2022 9:34 am 
My late grandmother lived in Marktoberdorf, Bavaria.  In late fall, a farmer would drive up in a tractor pulling a tank - a mistwagen - and pump out the sewage from her septic tank.  When his tank was full, the farmer would drive out to his fields and aerially spray the watery sludge in the fields.  Apparently sitting in the fields over the winter was enough to break down any nasty pathogens.  I suspect that before there were tractors and mechanical pumps, they did it with wagons and hand pumps, meaning that stuff has been applied for a long time.

Things like heavy metals and drug residues are issues when we pump them into waterways.  On dry land, the drug residues at least will be broken down by micro-organisms.  Most crop plants do not accumulate heavy metals.

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Stefan
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PostMon Feb 07, 2022 4:11 pm 
I get a biosolid from the Sumner waste facility for my lawn.  Its free.  Its also really really dry stuff.  Just go to the Sumner waste water facility, pull up your truck and shovel in some sh$*.  That stuff smells.

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Anne Elk
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 12:01 am 
Thanks, RichP, for starting this thread with that photo.  I'm surprised that the forest areas sprayed are posted. It figures one of the landowners involved is John Hancock Timber Resources, an old nemesis. This happens to be a hot button issue for me that I've tried to forget about, because when I discovered this was happening with the blessings of our local gov't, I got very upset and depressed, realizing that it likely couldn't/wouldn't be stopped.  shakehead.gif

Schroder wrote:
It's free of active bacteria that may harm us but still full of heavy metals, drug products, etc. that stay with biosolids. It's banned in Island County.

When I was in the King County Master Gardener training program, a representative from the county gave a presentation one afternoon about their biosolids, and brought samples. I was horrified. Not just that it was being used on crops and sold in stores for our gardens, but worse (I thought) that it was being sprayed out in the woods to help regenerate logged areas.

It wasn't difficult for a natural skeptic like me to sniff out the obvious conflict of interest - the municipalities need to get rid of this stuff, so they have lots of incentive to greenwash this "recycling" method.  The truth is that municipalities, even ones as relatively wealthy as King County, cannot possibly test for all the contaminants that go into our sewers. They have a good PR campaign going re their treatment and testing, to allay the public's fears.  The county presenter also stated that the biosolids sprayed in rural areas are not treated to the same degree as the bagged product they're selling to the public. Maybe the sign posted in the sprayed area is a CYA tactic b/c, well, maybe it's not all that safe.  huh.gif

Questions Remain About Using Treated Sewage on Farms

EPA Unable to Assess Impact of Hundreds of Unregulated Pollutants in Land-Applied Biosolids on Human Health and the Environment

Town Bans Land Application of Sewage Sludge, or Biosolids

"A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. More recently, new research adds to existing evidence of the hazards of sewage sludge fertilizer by demonstrating that chemical contaminants are sufficiently mobile and persistent that they can easily be transported to groundwater, with implication for local drinking water."


From http://sludge-pennsylvania.blogspot.com/2006/08/biosolids-battle-1995-death-in-berks.html :
“The group of scientists at Cornell who have studied this material are concerned that the regulations currently in place are not sufficient to protect the environment, human health and agricultural productivity,” said Ellen Z. Harrison, director of the Cornell Waste Management Institute at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

The institute’s Web site, cwmi.css.cornell.edu/Sludge.html, details information obtained in studies by 10 of its scientists dating back to the 1960s.

One report, “Investigation of Alleged Health Incidents Associated with Land Application of Sewage Sludges,” catalogued 39 incidents in 15 states in which more than 328 residents near land application of biosolids reported illnesses. Symptoms compiled range from headaches and respiratory problems to death, the report said.

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Kim Brown
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 10:09 am 
Havent read all those articles, but they look old; one discusses unregulated biosolids, which LOOP is not unregulated. the Civil Eats article interviews a Sierra Club member - once I saw that, I didn't read further.

Take a tour of Brightwater Treatment plant. It's King Co's newest plant. pretty cool.

We've been eating produce treated with LOOP for quite some time. I feel all right. A little baggy here and there, but I don't think LOOP caused any of that.

But I will read the other articles and perhaps I will be freaked out too. Sometimes I'm not when I should be.

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Randito
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 10:42 am 
Anne Elk wrote:
It wasn't difficult for a natural skeptic like me to sniff out the obvious conflict of interest - the municipalities need to get rid of this stuff, so they have lots of incentive to greenwash this "recycling" method. 

IDK the simplest thing for the agency to do with sludge is put it in a landfill.   The total volume is small compared to all the other municipal garbage.   Various uses as fertilizer have more administrative overhead and costs than just sending it to Arlington, OR.

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Kim Brown
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 11:23 am 
Randito wrote:
Various uses as fertilizer have more administrative overhead and costs than just sending it to Arlington, OR.

Perhaps Arlington, OR doesn't want our poop. I bet there's a poop agreement between us and them. RE: cost, well, we gotta start somewhere. And from there, continue researching for better ways to do it.

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Dick B
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PostTue Feb 08, 2022 12:37 pm 
A Dr. Ben Bryant was my entomology professor back in the late 50s when I was a forestry student at the U of W. Dr. Ben told us this story. It seemed at the time Seattle had a limited ability to treat sewage, so it was simply dumped into the sound. I have no idea as to the amount of treatment it was given. He said one of its lines went in around the Magnolia Bluff area. One time Dr. Ben, was invited to some sort of ceremony hosted by a group of Native Americans. They would dig for grubs, which I think were a stage of the pandora moth, then roast them. Professor Bryant was invited to partake, which he did with much trepidation. He said they actually tasted pretty good. His parting comment to us was "I would rather eat the grubs, than crabs caught off Magnolia Bluff".
He also partook in the spruce budworm project that was conducted in northeast Oregon not long after WWII. He had some interesting stories to relate about that. Dr. Ben was one of my more interesting professors.

Lindsay, Anne Elk, Sculpin
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